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Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Deed is Done

Can I just say YUCK! I could NEVER be a dentist! It's just plain gross. Thankfully Dr. Kelly has a stomach for blood (and there was more of it than I expected) and the ability to pull teeth from tiny mouths.

Rienne had her 3 teeth "wiggled" out today. There were some tears, mostly due to nerves. She was very brave, though, and did well. She just ate some ice cream and is bouncing around the house so she's no worse for the wear. My pocketbook, on the other hand, is reeling from the pain!

The roots on those teeth were astounding. I never knew they dissolved before the fell out but I quickly figured it out when I saw the size of the roots on the teeth Rienne had "wiggled". WOW. I can tell she's gonna need some motrin for a few days. Pretty yucky stuff.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Rory lost her very first tooth today. An apple did the job for her and in the nick of time too. Now, She's gonna cash in on some of that ole' tooth fairy money too.

Tomorrow is Rienne's big tooth extraction x3 so we have some cash to dole out around here ;) I'll let you all know how that goes tomorrow.

Here she is! Our pretty girl Rory. She turns 6 years old on Friday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Red Letter Campaign- Equipping Family for Dealing with Questions

My topic today arises from one of my previous posts about choosing the kinds of language I want to use regarding our adoptive family. It got me thinking about our extended family and how this change might affect them. After all, the grandparents are bound to get questions when they are out and about with their grandkids. Are they ready with a response to some common occurrences?

In our family there are many different personality types. For instance, my mother and I are much alike, consequently she has read a lot of books with specific parenting techniques so she can be well equipped for anything that might arise when she does extended babysitting for us as she is often so happy to do. My dad is more of a laid back take it as it comes kind of dude, and I don't think he's read a single book thus far (but his wife has so that helps keep me from twitching). I have to be honest and say I fear a bit for him when suddenly our son is home and he's got to do the emotional prep work in a short time that many of us have been working through all these months..... but that's a different story.

My in-laws seem to have a sense of what to expect because my Sister-in-law and her hubby are a blended race family with a gorgeous blended baby girl and a son on the way. Even still, there are some differences between that and adoption.

Some things that I hope to have the opportunity to share more about with my family soon are the"little" things people might not realize make such a difference to an adoptive family. Some friends with adoptive/foster children at home warn me about certain issues that need to be talked through with family before a situation arises which could cause tension or worse in the family. It's mine and my husband's job to be the advocates for our adopted son in our family even if it means treading in water that makes for some uncomfortable conversation at times. I have to ask myself if I've been nudging the grandparents to explore these things.

One friend says her family tended to introduce their foster kids as "the foster girls." What her family didn't realize is that those words tend to convey, ESPECIALLY TO THE CHILDREN, the idea that they aren't really a part of the family even though the kids have been placed there since their birth. That is a HUGE no-no. Mental checklist: gently encourage grandparents and extended family to consider how they introduce grandson...make sure it's NOT always as the adopted grandson.

I also have yet to speak with some family members about the idea that not every member of society has a right to know our son's history and that just because people are curious doesn't mean they will be rewarded with the details of our adoption. This is especially true when our son is present. The clerk at the grocery store does not need to hear anything more than, "Yes, this is my wonderful son/grandson." end of conversation.

My friend Brooke has a good guide for determining how much info you might like to share about your children. If it's a random stranger with which you will most likely never have contact again keep it simple. One word answers send the message that the doors aren't open for the other person to go probing any further. People like neighbours and acquaintances will need to know a little more information. You will want to give them more information about your family to make interaction comfortable and help them to understand your situation. You'll want to stop them from being in a continual state of questioning what the deal is with your family so that they can settle into a social ease with your clan. From there you can increase the knowledge according to the level of interaction the person will have with your family.

In my family my husband and I plan to share our son's history (by "history" I mean the circumstances by which he became available for adoption, provided we ever get that information) with the grandparents only. As our son grows we will teach him all we know about his history and let him decide his comfort level with sharing that info and with whom when he is old enough to make those kinds of decisions. Until then it's confidential information. All other family members will have to respect that and I don't see any of them having a problem with it.

One of the coolest ideas I have read on empowering adoptive kids, especially trans racially adopted kids who stand to be the focus more in public, is putting the ball in their court when a stranger approaches them seeking information by saying, " (child's name) do you feel like telling your story today?" if the answer is yes you might share some standard details about the adoption like what country, how long it took, whatever you are comfortable with. I hope that one day my son and I can come up with a list of those things to say together. If the answer is no then just tell the stranger, "I'm sorry we just don't want to share our story today."

I am also working to equip our other kids with positive language about their brother and the adoption. I have reinforced the idea to them that there is a circle of family and friends who loves us and gets to know lots more about us and then there is the circle of people who sort of know us and get to sort of know things about our family and then there are strangers who don't know us and don't get to know all about our family. I've told them that they too, have the power to decide whether or not they want to share their story in public. I do this because often I hear of adults asking children the questions they don't have the guts to approach the parents with.

These are just some things I've been thinking about. What about you? What kinds of things have you been working on with your family? Any suggestions for things I haven't thought of? Have you any great conversation starters for family? Let me know your experiences, concerns, etc.

Finally, I want you to read this excerpt of a post from THIS blog and see what sparked my thoughts about getting back on track with talking with my family. I had to ask myself after reading it whether or not our family members would be ready for it? Come to think of it... Am I really ready for it? I pray I am!

Conversation with a lady at church (65ish) and me on Sunday after church.
Don't picture a nice old lady, she didn't even smile once:

Lady: Is this the one you just went and got?

Me: Yes, this is my new daughter!

Lady to Mayla: What is your name?

Mayla just smiles and waves at her.

Lady to Mayla: I said, what is your name?

Me: She doesn't speak...*gets interrupted*

Lady to Mayla (now right in her face, Mayla is putting her head on my
shoulder, because she is scared because she is yelling): LOOK AT ME, I SAID WHAT

Me: Her name is Mayla, she doesn't speak English.

Lady: Well then what does she speak?

Me: Amharic.

Lady: What?

Me: Amharic, it is the language of Ethiopia.

Lady: So she speaks African?

Me: She speaks Amharic.

Lady: Make her say something to me in African.

Me: I can't, she is shy and I don't know how to communicate to her to tell
her to speak to you in Amharic.

Lady to Mayla (now slow and very loud): SAY SOMETHING TO ME IN

Mayla is now turning her head away from the lady.

Lady : She doesn't listen very well. Lady to Mayla: I said, SAY SOMETHING IN

Me (now slow and very loud) SHE DOESN'T SPEAK ENGLISH.Then I walk

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It seems so personal a tragedy but after hearing about the huge loss the Chapman family has suffered after an accident resulted in the death of their youngest daughter it would feel wrong not to acknowledge it. Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife Beth have been huge advocates for adoption and I am so sorry for their loss. Being that AWAA was the agency the Chapman's used to facilitate their adoptions I am sure the ripple of such a loss will be far reaching within our agency's community.

My thoughts and prayers are with their family.

Red Letters Campaign- Is this my son too?

I read this article and this post from my friend Kim whose son Judah came to her malnourished.(make sure you follow her link to the poem she wrote) My heart trembles at the thought of the children suffering and most especially as the reality hits the epicenter of my heart, my love for our children.... My mind is on our son-to-be.

Yesterday and today I fasted. My fasting came to an end. For some the end will be their death, others a lifetime marked by malnourishment. I am sad. SO SAD.

Click for more articles:
Here, and here

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hope for the Hopeless

If you are interested in learning more about Pastor Surefel's program Hope for the Hopeless or you would like to sponsor a child for $20.00/month please leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you.

There will be opportunities in the future to partner with Hope for the Hopeless to do missions work so if you would like to be kept in the loop for future trips be sure to let me know.

Red Letters campaign - A Very Important Dinner Date

We had our dinner with Pastor Surefel. The leaders of Grafted tree had been praying and hoping that the meeting would be fruitful and God didn't disappoint. We were able to get some clear direction on how to help Pastor Surefel.

We were blessed to listen to the man speak as all the adults gathered around our large dining and sat in front of piles of food. Italian sausage, two HUGE pans of lasagna, garlic bread, bruscetta, a huge salad and dessert. I had to wonder about how it must burden Pastor Surefel to see such a spread I wondered if every time he saw such abundance his mind wandered back to the kids in his orphanage barely getting two meals a day. He shared with us that most Ethiopians get meat once or twice a year. They had been trying to feed the children in his care meat every 15 days but they had to cut that off due to insufficient funds.

Surefel told stories of the children and what has happened to them, of his call to care for the orphans one faithful day. He spoke of wanting to give up at times and feeling like he couldn't go on. He spoke of God's provision and his hope for the children. He told us that just having us to talk with about his burden helped him. It was then that I wanted to drop down to my knees in tears. He said he didn't care if he even got anything from us, that it was just enough to know that we care about the kids. Then he followed that statement up with telling us that for the children that are adopted and come to the US their life is being plucked up out of hell on earth. That humbled me.

All night I was chewing on the truth that I have been born into this generation such as this for a reason. Often times throughout my life I have looked at myself and said that there wasn't anything of particular importance about me, nothing extraordinary. That is true in some part. Except when I take into account my extreme personal wealth compared to world standards of living. My wealth is extraordinary in the eyes of the rest of the world. My access to information, education, opportunity and health care are extremely important to the rest of the world! I was struck by Surefel's comment about how we should not compare our poor in the US to the poor of Ethiopia. I know what he meant. I know he speaks of a poverty few American can comprehend, even the most down trodden of the US society.

My mind has been churning over and over again with the image of being placed shoulder to shoulder in a line with women from around the world standing in front of God Almighty. I, personally cannot fathom how I will stand before Him and justify not helping others in need both locally and abroad. To whom much has been given much will be DEMANDED. (see Luke 12:47 & 48). Why do we think that will be?..........It's haunting me. I can't continue to live like I've been blessed this much merely for my own benefit, that such excesses has been given to me for me alone to consume.

We in the US need these wake up calls to get our position in life into perspective. It's easy to become isolated in our culture of materialism and grow ever more dissatisfied with life. We 'average joe's and jane's' in the US need to realize there is nothing average about our lifestyle. We are the world's elite, not because we are superior in character or anything of the sort, but because we, like nobility have a crown of wealth, health and leisure laid upon our heads.

God help me for the years I've wasted and for the carelessness I've lived my life with at times. I am utterly knocked off my feet at my ability to sin and be ungrateful for all that I have. Surely I have every reason to praise the Lord for all his gifts in my life. My prayer is that God would change me and turn me away from my selfishness.

The problem is that it's not just me or my family alone. You can agree or not, but the truth is that the church in the US is fat and lazy. Why else would we have our own poor here among us. Why don't we have more outraches for the poor in our congregations? Is it because our faith is weak and our appetite for more is a disease that squelches the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

We act like our gifts are so holy, like we give so much. We bring in the tithe and our offerings (well, some of us anyway. Others don't really see the need to honor God in such a way at all) and we build these monstrosities we call churches with every lavish amenitie you can dream up. We desire to reach others for Christ and God blesses us in spite of ourselves by bringing new believers in BUT we need to check our hearts and our motivations. Are these mega-awesome churches serving others TRULY? Would we pass the test or owuld all our best efforts be burned in the fire?

We must ask ourselves: Are we not beneficiaries in all this? Are not our "sacrifices" barely sacrifices at all? I have a nagging feeling more and more these days that the church is feeding the addiction of the culture. We can't even see that we, the church, are just as entangled and ensnared by materialism and the 'world' outside. I ask you where is the line of demarcation!?

I am sick over it but I have no answers just the same. These are just the questions I have in my heart. I don't expect everyone to agree. We all gotta run our own races. I don't expect every church to stop their building or growth campaigns and give all the funds to a third world country. I am just asking myself the hard questions about where I am supposed to serve and GIVE and SACRIFICE. It seems to have finally dawned on me that I have been given so much. I just want to be a good steward. Not so others can look at me and say, "aw, that jen she's such a good person" but because I LOVE JESUS. And, because a man named Surefel sat at my dining room table and told me the stories of how Jesus is starving and naked and suffering on the streets of Addis Ababa (not to mention countless other cities around the US and the world)

Matthew 25:31-46

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he
will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered
before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd
separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the
goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed
by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the
creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was
thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me
in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I
was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry
and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a
stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see
you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of
the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are
cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was
hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to
drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you
did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a
stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of
the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In the Land of Suspension

A little over three months waiting for a referral finished. The time seems to have passed quickly. Mostly because we've had a lot of activities to keep us busy. Some days I just plain get sick of the wait. Today might be one of those days.

I don't particularly know what makes some days easier to bear waiting for our referral. It feels like everything in our life is up in the air, hanging there, in pause. I call it "living in the Land of Suspension" because that's the best I can describe what life feels like. It was either that title or "my whole life feels like everything has been set in a jello mould- completely stuck and not moving except for a jiggle or a wiggle at times." I figured you'd vote for the former.

In the most contradictory of terms our life feels both like it's on hold and like it's moving forward. Wheels are turning, processes are being completed, bureaucracy is functioning and things are happening. All of which we are completely unaware of. (Oh how we long to look in on such affairs!) All we know is that three months are down. We have no way to gauge how much longer we have to go. Many factors could affect our wait. (I've mentioned them before) Everything is up in the air.

All this causes me to get moody sometimes, a little anxious for the ending. Last night as Dustin and I were driving home from running errands he leaned over a bit and spoke into the quietness, "sometimes it feels like we'll never get a referral." I knew exactly what he meant. This waiting is by far the most surreal, intangible part of the process. On this side of THE WAIT there are no answers, details, time frames, or END. We are just in a state of being... oh, and did I mention Waiting!?

As we sat in church last Sunday pastor Greg said that if we found ourselves in God's waiting room we could know that we were being prepared for something. I know that is the truth about our situation. That causes me to find hope. One of the biggest motivators for me during my stay in the Land of Suspension is to soak up and utilize every moment of this preparation. I want to be completely ready for our son. (Well, as ready as the Lord would have me. As much as is humanly possible.)

With all that said, I suddenly sense that sometime in the unforeseen future I will probably call this time of waiting/preparation by another name. Something tells me it will be a much more endearing name. A name that will probably suggest the marvelous things were happening during this time. Things that were far beyond the scope of our imagination or vision. My guess is that this waiting is in reality the invisible foundation of a grand structure being built by the Most High Architect. For that, I can wait a little longer. But, gosh it's HARD!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- The Emancipation Network

I wanted to introduce you to a wonderful organization called T.E.N. or The Emancipation Network. I had the privilege of working with them a few years back to host awareness parties about human trafficking. I even had the honor of meeting the Founder Sarah Symons when she came to AZ for a visit. I can tell you her passion is comsuming and she's the real deal. T.E.N. is a great group to hook up with if you're looking to get involved and take a stand against human trafficking

They have grown so much over the past few years. I am thrilled at their success. Head over and investigate The Emanicpation Network for yourself. I still have amny of the items I purchased from them. They are great conversation starters.

Take a look at a few of my favorite items on my "to buy" list.

Rice Bag Backpack
Silver Flower and Stone Bracelet
Orange Dragonfly Choker
Jewel Tone Journal

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- A Problem with Words (Why I'm Not Being PC)

Something has been nagging at me lately. It's been common place for many adoptive parents-to-be (of which I am one) coming down off the buzz of gorging themselves on every book, article or snippet related to adoption to start uttering phrases like "adoption isn't the answer to ______ (fill in the blank with: the aids epidemic, poverty, the orphan crisis." or "Families adopt because they want to grow their family, not to rescue a child."

But that's not going to be me. I'm not really sure I want to express my thoughts that way.

Just like many families beginning their adoption journey we struggled to gain our new language skills relating to the complex world of adoption. We had to learn the rules, so to speak, of what to say and what not to say. Even with so many of our friends being adoptive families we found it difficult at first to find the words to describe things in a way that was a right fit for our family. Even now, our family is still evolving and as things change so does the dialogue with the world around us.

I realize that in the world of adoption things are rarely ever black and white. There's a whole lotta gray and I am only beginning to get used to it. But the issue of these sort of PC phrases buzzing around is really getting under my skin. Adoption is too complex for a sound bite. It's not a one word, or even one sentence explanation. It's as varied and complex and the families represented in the adoptive community. Why then are we using these lame phrases when trying to advocate the miracle of adoption to those unfamiliar with the process?

Adoption is not THE answer but for many families it is A answer. It's their way of sharing Christ's love and the overflow of the fullness of the riches of their life while meeting the very real needs of a child by bringing them into a family, where all children belong. Flat out, for these folks adoption is their working class, soccer mom and dad, PTA way of making a difference. It is not THE answer to the global issue of aids or poverty but it is THE answer for the child who would otherwise be languishing in institutional care.

I am not sure what it is about that response that nags me. I guess it's the way in which I have heard it misused. I think that originally advocates wanted to convey the sense that all the issues of poverty and the effects of the aids epidemic creating the huge orphan crises in Africa and elsewhere could not be solved through adoption alone. Fair game. I understand that. When people talk about the numbers of children actually being adopted versus the number of children still in need the amount of work yet to be done is staggering. I believe the original intent was to keep people from growing complacent their thinking, from imagining that things were "being handled." by those trendy adoptive families riding the wave of popularity set off by the likes of various Hollywood celebrities. Perhaps the phrase was coined to dispel the sense that one could sit back and relax while the rest of the world took action. All this I understand, but somehow after I hear that phrase it feels a little to politically correct for my taste, like somehow adoption is being diminished.

I hear this statement attached, often times, to the issue of trans-racial and trans-cultural adoption. The way I look at it, being that the number of orphans is so high and all, we ought to encourage adoption, not downplay it. Adoption isn't the ideal answer but it's a good answer. The ideal answer would be that children never lose their birth parents. Adoption, may not be THE answer to end all answers. There are many questions that need to be addressed regarding adoption, but it's THE answer I give when people ask about what they can do to make a difference in the world of children in need. (Note: I don't say that they can make ALL the difference in the world, but A difference in the world.) As a follower of Christ it's my answer to James 1:22 and 1:27.

The other phrase that has me cringing lately is "the only reason why parents should adopt is because they want to grow their family." Again, I see here that this phrase was probably also born out of good intention but I have to absolutely disagree with this one. That sweeping statement and the flippant use of it is just twisted. I sense here that this statement was likely intended to counter uninformed ideals that adoptive parents are saintly, cross carrying heroes of the faith, etc. who after doing their good deed deserve thanksgiving from the community at large. Again, I totally understand the concept behind wanting to rebut that kind of thinking but my stomach is still churning. Simply growing your family should not be the ONLY reason for a family to adopt. And what's so wrong about wanting to rescue a child, other than it not being a PC thing to say?

In our own case it would be just plain false to say we chose to adopt simply because we wanted to grow our family. Not to be holier than thou, but, we did want to rescue a child. Who wouldn't. I mean really, why not?

Adoption should be based in what's BEST FOR THE CHILD! Not what is most convenient for the adoptive parents. Think about it. It would be disgusting if it were any other way. If adoption were anything other than a system intended for the less-than-ideal (compared to never needing to be adopted in the first place) but still best interest of the relinquished or orphaned child it would be nothing but some sick kind of consumerism (not that some people in the world of adoption aren't consumers of children, but that is rare........ not to mention off topic. And, don't get me started about what needs to be fixed in the system... we don't have the time or the space to debate that issue)

So yes, I do want to rescue a child, but NOT for the reason some might think. I don't want to be thought of as a hero, a saint, or spiritual giant because I most definitely am not. I just want my son rescued because every child needs to be rescued from institutional care, from loneliness, from being without parents to love and care for them. No child should be an orphan. Now, the distinction that I think needs to be made is that ''rescue' and 'fix' are two different concepts and they shouldn't be confused regarding adopting children. We don't adopt to fix kids. We pray and hope and work toward their healing but ultimately they have to choose to do some of that work themselves. Or goal in this home is to parent our children out of the overflow of what has been done for us by being adopted as children of God (see Ephesians 1:4). Our decision to adopt is rooted not in our own ability to redeem a child's life but in linking up with Christ and HIS ability to use us to meet our adopted child's needs. We have confidence not in our own ability to love but in Christ's ability to love through us, not in our own ability to heal but in Christ's.

So that's it. I'm stepping down off the soap box now. I just wanted you to know why you won't hear me using those phrases.

One More Story from the Dentist

I forgot to tell you something that really dug deep in my heart. Rienne's perception is sometimes astounding to me. I mentioned in my last post about the dentist referring to extracting Rienne's teeth as "wiggling out" her teeth. Well, when we got home Rienne asked me, "Mom, do they call yanking out my teeth "wiggling out" to bring comfort and calm worries?"

I was shocked. How can my 7 year old kid be this perceptive? I figured a mind like hers deserved a completely honest answer so I told her straight up, "Yes!"

Kids have a perceptive gaze and I would do well to remember that. As a mom I am often at the center of our children's focus . Our children might not understand the complex motivation we adults have for doing the things we do but often they can see right through our schemes and sense what truly motivates us. Sometimes they are even better at seeing these types of things than we are. For all the wisdom we adults think we have gained we somehow seem to forget where that wisdom comes from, and in so doing we become simple.

Matthew 11:25 & 26 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

On Chicklets and God's Provision

Have I ever told you that in our family we tend to have large teeth?

Never mentioned it you say.

Well, now you know.

The last time I took my daughters to the dentist they told me to start saving "immediately" for the future orthodontia they would need. Did we listen? No. We decided to adopt instead. (haha just kidding. It didn't really work that way)

In our family we refer to our large teeth as chicklets. Chicklets are a white candy coated gum that are small and rectangular in size. About the size of our gargantuan teeth. My sister and I have always lamented over having large teeth which required lots of dental work in our youth.

Yesterday I went to our new pediatric dentist with Miss Rienne. We are switching to this office after it was highly recommended by some friends. Dr. Kelly didn't disappoint. She was wonderful and Rienne LOVED the office. She can't wait to go back.

During the visit the doctor was wowed at how large Rienne's teeth were. Already she has lost 3 teeth and the two teeth she has gotten filled that space entirely. This means her other teeth have no room to erupt. This also means Rienne needs to have 3 teeth "wiggled" out (as they like to call it there) and once the permanent teeth erupt she will need to have spacers put in to reserve space for the remaining teeth that will need to come in as well. I am down for whatever it takes to give my girl a healthy smile. Also, the less painful and sooner it can happen for her the better as I was much older when I began to receive my dental work and it was NOT pleasant for me.

All this tooth action is going to hit our pocket book pretty hard and will amount to being a down payment of sorts for all the services the girls are going to need in the future. It's going to cost us $1300.00 this go round. (itemized for those of you freaking out: $300 for initial visit with x-rays, $550 for tooth removal x3 and $450 for spacer.) OUCH! We got rid of our dental insurance because we weren't happy with the level of care we were receiving and preferred to have the freedom to go to our dentist of choice. Of course, this expense and lack of dental insurance had to happen in the middle of trying to pay for the adoption.

The pediatric dentist told me large teeth are in style. I responded that I'd rather my kids be out of style and keep the money, thank you.

Needless to say I was a bit concerned about how we were gonna make this happen. This morning I was praying with the girls over it. Not thirty minutes later hubby called and told me he would have the money to completely pay for the dentist and then some with a job he's doing for someone.

I am going to be honest here. My temptation was to check the dental bills off the list and continue on stressing out over finances and the whole sense of impending doom that spreads over me every time I think of our next payment due for the adoption. All without ever taking a step back and really soaking in the reality that God heard our prayers instantaneously and sent provision right away. WOW. I am humbled and thankful for the change in perspective God gave me and that I didn't miss it all together in the midst of my needless worrying and lack of faith.

I want to make sure I thank Him for His good gifts. THANK YOU LORD! The truth is that steadily God has been providing us with gifts or with the opportunity to earn the funds we need for our third payment to AWAA and for our travel. We still have a way to go but after today how could I doubt that He will provide? It makes me sad to think that even still my faith can be so weak, that after all the miraculous things God has done for me that I would still worry. I pray that He would continue to change me. That I will rest in him fully and trust Him more.

Oh and by the way: We are now officially on the hunt for dental insurance that Dr. Kelly accepts! ;)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Red Letters Campaign: Looking Back

Like the picture?
I'm celebrating.

It's the year anniversary since we began our first steps down the adoption road. A road paved with lots of WAITING.

I must say that I do take comfort in knowing that while we may be physically waiting we are also actively receiving, for Jesus is right here in our midst during this time. He is our portion. I am reminded of this, too:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness........

2 Peter 3:9

That verse doesn't necessarily pertain to the referral process but it does remind me that I can trust God's timing. No matter how long THE WAIT is.

So, back to the picture. I feel like I need to blow out a candle or something. After all it's been an important year of our life. So much has happened that it hardly feels anything more could have been packed into the space between the 7th of May last year and today. God has stretched and challenged our whole family over the last year. This journey, I dare say even THE WAIT, has been a gift from him. I am growing. Our whole family is growing. It is a wonderful time in our life. All the more wonderful it will be when our son finally comes home!
Our family is still smack dab in the middle of the holding pattern that is THE WAIT for a referral. It does become difficult at times to imagine that, one day, the end of THE WAIT will come, that a real child is going to materialize in our life someday soon. Right now, I can only dream of the day. And, maybe, blow out a candle and eat a cupcake or something to celebrate how far we've come.

The flip side of the coin is what our son is going through right now. The wait for me may just be slow moving and preparatory but for our son it means so much more. My mind wonders what this wait is like for him. I won't know the circumstances for a while but I can know that it includes loss, fear, change, anxiety and separation just to name a few. I pray that God would set deep within our child the sense that his wait will be over soon. And that, dear friends, brings me full circle to 2 Peter 3:9 and my hope in God's timing for uniting our family.

So, here's to one year of waiting down. May it not last a year longer!

.....but if it does Glory to God. He's in control and I trust him COMPLETELY.

......okay maybe just a little less than completely on the hard days ;) (if I'm being honest)

Red Letters Campaign- Everbody's Doing It

Now, Here is some peer pressure you can feel good about caving in to! I just joined up to be an Adoption Journal Blogger for Red Letters Campaign. and I got this cool badge to boot.

Look for more to come related to the Red Letters Campaign on my blog. I will also be going back and linking some older posts related to our journey for the Red Letters Campaign Adoption Journal

If you are in the process of adopting a child and you are a blogger too, why not join in? Go check out what it's all about and then sign yourself up.

C'mon... what ya waitin' for? Everybody's doin' it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sleeping with the Light On

Dustin was out of town last night. He took all our employees to Prescott for the weekend. Some MAN time spent fishing, paint ball war gaming and lots of eating was done.

While the neighbours partied until well past 2am I tried to sleep. When I had finally drifted off to sleep shortly thereafter I awoke suddenly and in a panic to a crashing sound. I immediately shot up and felt my heart leaping out of my chest. My mind had conjured up a vision of a robber breaking into one of the girls' rooms. I screamed at the top of my lungs, "Oh NO you don't! In Jesus' name you get out of my house!!" I ran frantically to the hallway and flipped on the light dodging into each room only to find the robber I had expected to see wasn't there. Upon closer examination I found that Rory had taken a ceramic house to bed with her and it had crashed to the floor affter she turned in her sleep.

Let me tell you the affects of adrenaline are astounding. My heart was beating with a force I'd never experienced before. Honestly, I think my ribs flexed with each beat. I had been ready to kick some serious booty if necessary while at the same time feeling completely terrified. It was then that I thanked the Lord for giving me such a wonderful husband who makes me feel so secure and protected whenever he's around.

I got back in bed and did some cleansing breaths trying to restore my pulse to a manageable rate. Needless to say I was a bit shaken up and decided I'd sleep with the phone by my side and the light on dim. 15 minutes later the light was off and my heart had recovered.... but I sure missed having my hubby to snuggle up to!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Random Post?

Yes it's about that time people!

One: Our neighbours are having a party. It's a BIG one complete with lots of Whohoo's and chick screams wafting over the brick wall between us. I am told he's a cop so I am confident things won't get too rowdy BUT our retarded dog is freaking out about every 10 minutes. He launches into a barking fit and runs through the dog door to the side of the home where he stands barking right below the girls' windows while they are trying to sleep. He's now barking inside the home at some of the people out front. I can't hear them but I have to assume they are there because he's going nuts. I could really wring his neck tonight. I honestly don't love him like I should. It's just that he's very annoying. He barks a lot. Like Rienne says, "He's like a door bell that you have to feed." (that kid cracks me up!) My reply: "I suppose you're right. I guess we made a bad investment then. A door bell would have been cheaper and less hassle."

Two: I woke up to find Ally in our bed barfing next to me this morning. Nothing says "good morning" like hearing my child heave. She lost it all over my pillow. Thankfully my head was not on it. Poor baby. We had a full day of fun planned including my nephew's birthday party at Pump it Up. We got to lay on the couch and watch 2 movies instead. BORING! I am praying the other two don't come down with this as well. She still has a fever but hasn't had another episode since.

Three: I am avoiding TV again. Honestly, I find that the more I watch TV the more I stick around for even a few minutes to view the catastrophe that is cable and I don't EVER want to be desensitized to that kind of stuff. Nothing but a total freak show. My flesh nature can't help but stop to take just a peek at the raging lunacy. It's come down to a matter of protecting myself and my time. I have too much to accomplish in life to spend my time camping out rotting my brain. It's cable news for me and that's about it. There just really isn't anything worthwhile on television these days and while I'd love nothing more to sit on my lazy butt and veg out for a while I can't even watch prime time commercials without being offended. TV IS SO NOT KID FRIENDLY ANYMORE.

Why does selling tooth paste need to be sexual? Can anyone explain that to me? Honestly, now they've turned chewing gum into an experience that a woman cannot complete without wrapping herself around some random stranger and making out with him in a grocery store. What's next? They've yet to sexualize house cleaning products. How long do you think it will take to have a half naked woman scrubbing the toilets with some special cleaner? I don't know whether Ad-Exec's mistakenly believe we are that depraved OR if it's truthfully effective advertising and the sad fact is that our society will purchase anything that has a little sex tagged on with it over something that is advertised straight up. That's a scary thought to me.

I read this post and it made my heart heavy only because I ,too, am haunted by the messages our kids have probably seen hundreds of times already in their short little lives. How many times have my kids seen billboards of half naked women driving home the message that when the girls in this society grow up they should aspire to be objects of lust for others' gratification. Why just yesterday, actually. Rienne and Rory were commenting on the beer billboard that showed only the scantily clad shoulders through the waist portion of a woman. What in the world?! I didn't know women drink beer through their belly buttons...... or nipples for that matter. YUCK. I need a shower.

The sad truth is that as hard as hubby and I try to protect their innocence and sense of self from the distortions our society places on sexuality the messages will still reach them. Earlier and earlier these days.

........Parenting requires a battle plan, I tell you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

(Red Letters Campaign) Been A While

Time has gotten away from me. I have been very busy lately and haven't been blogging. So busy, that I'm not sure what to blog about because I can't choose any one event.

One of the most exciting things happening lately has to do with Grafted Tree Ministries. Our little rag tag group of families is really starting to pull something together and God is focusing us. We are still in the process of compiling things to acquire our non profit status. We are also networking. In just a few weeks we will sit down with an Ethiopian immigrant pastor who divides his time between here and ET about how me might be able to aid him with garnering sponsorships for the children in his existing orphanage and care facility and raise more funds to be used for building a boarding school and implementing a foster care type system locally. All this is very exciting. We are looking with eyes wide open to see if this project is indeed one that God would have us participate in. I, personally, have high hopes that we will be able to strengthen our relationship with this man.

We are also working on creating a presentation to take with us around local congregations. we hope to spark flames in congregations and encourage more churches to begin their own programs.

In the midst of all this Kim and Julie are both getting really close to travelling to get their kiddos. Kim will leave first, the beginning of June. I don't know exactly when for Julie but before summer is over, I think. Then there's me. Who knows when? But I have lots of fun stuff to keep me occupied while I wait.

Oh, BTW there were 4 referrals given out last week. Two boys, 2 Girls. IT was wonderful!! ;)

It's a bummer that we didn't see the LARGE batch we were expecting but I have high hopes for May. We shall see.....